By Richard Cuicchi | April 09, 2017 at 08:53 PM EDT | No Comments
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Houston Astros had players like Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman leading a successful franchise, after previous years of mediocrity. Baseball fans and the media gave them the moniker “Killer B’s” for the offensive punch they delivered day in and day out. Now, the Boston Red Sox have a core group of young players making a name for themselves with their bats. They could well become known as the second coming of the Killer Bs, since they all happen to have last names that start with the letter “B”.
Outfielders Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi and shortstop Xander Bogaerts are at the core of a Red Sox team that appears will be relevant for the next 3-4 years while they are under contract control by Boston. They are coming at a good time, since long-time Red Sox slugger David Ortiz passed the torch as the team’s offensive leader after his retirement at the end of last season. The Red Sox finished at the top of the American League East Division last year, after finishing in last place the two previous seasons.
Bogaerts has been the starting shortstop since 2014, and it took only one full season before he became a standout at the position. After hitting .320 in 2015, he followed up last year with 21 HR, 89 RBI, 115 runs scored, while still hitting a hefty .294 in his first all-star season. The major leagues are currently flush with impressive young shortstops, with Bogaerts near the top of the heap.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had a breakout year last season. He struggled offensively during his first two full seasons with the Red Sox and then came to life in 2016 with 30 doubles, 7 triples, 26 HR and 87 RBI. He was also an all-star selection last year.
After last year’s near MVP season, Mookie Betts is considered one of the best overall position players in the majors, right up there with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Kris Bryant. Betts hits for average (214 hits, .318 batting average), has power (31 HR, 113 RBI), runs well (26 stolen bases), and fields well (Gold Glove). His 9.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was second only to Mike Trout, who also edged him out for the American League MVP Award.
The latest arrival of the Red Sox’ Killer Bs is Andrew Benintendi. He made his major-league debut on August 2nd of last season, hitting .295 in 34 games and earning a starting job in the post-season. He has also won a starting outfield job this year.
The trio of outfielders has already captured the hearts of Red Sox fans with a playful victory dance routine after games. If the Red Sox front office management is smart, they’ll find a way to keep all four of these players around beyond their initial contract years, which would ensure there’ll be a bunch of future victory dances.
Bagwell and Biggio from the Astros’ Killer Bs ultimately became Baseball Hall of Fame selections.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the Red Sox had another core of players that formed the backbone of the team that included Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr. Williams and Doerr wound up being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, while DiMaggio and Pesky enjoyed all-star seasons. However, those Red Sox teams won only one American League pennant during their tenure.
The current-day Red Sox have their sights set on being frequent World Series participants with the aid of their version of the Killer Bs.